Neolocal Residence

Neolocal residence rules form the basis of most Western domestic structures. Upon marriage, each partner is expected to move out of his or her parents' household and establish a new residence, thus forming the core of an independent nuclear family.

Neolocal Residence, Initial Generations

Neolocal residence involves the creation of a new household each time a child marries (C) or even when he or she reaches adulthood and becomes economically active (D).

Neolocal Residence, Subsequent Generation

In the next generation, C has had children, and D has married and had children. One child of each couple has established his/her own nuclear family. There are now four new households in addition to the original unit.

Neolocal residence and nuclear family domestic structures are found in societies where geographical mobility is important. In Western societies, they are consistent with the frequent moves necessitated by choices and changes within a supply and demand regulated labour market. They are also prevalent in hunting and gathering economies, where nomadic movements are intrinsic to the subsistence strategy.

© Brian Schwimmer, All rights reserved
Department of Anthropology
University of Manitoba
Created 1995